Aging and Dental Health

Aging and Dental Health

Dental care is an essential part of overall health and wellness. For many seniors, staying on top of oral health is an important part of their routine. They care for their teeth as much as they engage in regular exercise and mental acuity activities to improve their wellbeing as they live in their advancing years.
There are many misconceptions about dental health for older adults. Many only know from example what has the potential to occur as they get older. They may have seen their parents lose teeth, get dentures and manage through declining oral health without visiting a dentist. These days, however, there are many options for seniors to learn about oral health and steps they can take to preserve the white in their smile.

Senior Dental Myths and Facts

As you age, you may think it is inevitable that you lose your teeth and must consider replacements, such as dentures. However, everyone’s mouth is different. Getting older does not mean you automatically face tooth loss and declining oral health. Like any other part of your body, you may just need to manage it differently.
There are changes to your mouth health that happen as you get older. For example, many seniors have less sensitive nerves in their mouth and a different perception of dental pain than younger people. Although this means there is typically less tooth pain, it also means some will put off going to the dentist to fix issues. What may be a relatively easy fix for a dentist at an early stage, such as a cavity, could turn into something more substantial, like the removal of teeth.
One change that does not happen naturally is the softening of teeth. While many seniors experience this, it is not an inevitable part of getting older. It is typically a sign of underlying decay that your dentist may be able to fix with in-clinic treatments and help you prevent with at-home care.
Seniors, like young people, can get cavities. This is one dental issue that proper care and maintenance should help relieve or prevent. As some people age, they experience cognitive, sensory or communication issues that may make it hard to see what their teeth look like, especially those in the back of the mouth. Really, doing an at-home scan of teeth health is impossible for almost anyone, regardless of age.
For these reasons, it is important to see the dentist, who can thoroughly examine your mouth. Anyone whose hearing loss or mobility issues make it difficult to communicate should feel free to bring a friend or caregiver to a dentist appointment.

Tips for Senior Dental Care and Maintenance

As you get older, there are many ways you can help improve your oral health and help keep your smile intact for a lifetime. Many of these tips are appropriate for anyone who wants to keep up with their oral wellness, but they are particularly important for seniors who may face other health challenges associated with aging.

Maintain a Healthy Diet

It’s true that whole-body health also leads to healthy teeth. Try to limit the number of sugary foods and drinks. Opt for cheese, nuts, and water as healthy snacks throughout the day. That way, there will be fewer agents to attack your healthy teeth and less work you and your dentist must do to keep them clean.

Brush and Floss Regularly

Everyone probably knows the importance of brushing and flossing. As you get older and have more significant dental work such as crowns, it is even more vital to keep your teeth and your dental work clean. After all, previous dental work is an indication this area of the mouth was already under stress and needs particular attention.
Brush twice a day with a toothbrush with soft bristles. An electric toothbrush may be easier for you to use. You should also floss between teeth at least once a day, in order to get the little bits of residue you might otherwise miss when brush, or that a toothbrush just cannot reach.

Maintain Regular Dental Visits

It is a good idea to put regular dental visits into your overall healthcare routine. More and more dentists have seniors as patients, as this demographic is growing. Seniors may have certain health issues that affect their dental care and treatment. For example, you may have to discuss your dental health taking into account diabetes and hypertension and other conditions.
To help your dentist give you the best care, you should discuss any other health issues you have, including any medications you currently take. These types of drugs may interact with the treatment recommended by your dentist, so an open, honest and thorough discussion about your current protocols are recommended.

Keep Positive and Love Your Teeth!

Perhaps the best news about seniors and dental health is that dentists know more now than ever before how to help maintain healthy teeth. You can work with your dentist to keep your mouth free of maladies. There is no reason to think you have to eventually lose your teeth. You can keep up your smile for years to come with the right information and care.

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